The Royal Cambodian Army (RCA) began its first live-fire exercise, Golden Hanuman 2019, with more than 2,000 soldiers taking part, at the 10,000 hectare training area in Kampot Province’s Chum Kiri District today (May 4). The closing ceremony will be on May 8.
Lieutenant General Hun Manet, the RCA’s commander [since September 2018], and General Ith Sarath, Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) Chief of Joint Staff, inspect the troops and heavy equipment – tanks, armoured personnel carriers, vehicle-mounted BM-21 rocket launchers, attack helicopters, and such.
Commander of Brigade 70 and head of the exercise committee, Lt Gen Mao Siphann , said that 2,391 soldiers, 1,000 of them recruits, were part of the live-fire exercise drill that took 21 days in the making.
RCA spokesman Maj Gen Mao Phalla pointed out that this is the RCA’s first field exercise under Lt Gen Manet’s command, and its “… main purpose … is to strengthen the capacity, knowledge and expertise of [our] soldiers. We also want to measure our soldiers’ abilities after they’ve finished military school.”
Ministry of Defence records show that Cambodia has held three similar military drills, the first in 2010, the second in 2013, and the third in 2018, albeit led by the RCAF High Command.